Friday, November 30, 2012

Nikon 'I am' - powerful and insightful communication

Today I am going to write something close to a tribute to the best advertising campaign on air at the moment. It is the Nikon 'I am' campaign I'm talking about. I think they TV ads are so strong so they almost make my heart burst with happiness for seeing such great creative and insightful work. And the print and digital is equally strong. I don't know the agency behind the campaign but I hope that the communication isn't just empty words but rather a portrayal of what the Nikon company and brand truly want to offer to the world. My understanding is a brand that is absolutely passionate about offering their customers the ability to express themselves and who they are freely. The whole idea is clearly based on a strong consumer insight: 'the need to feel free and be able to demonstrate your true self to the world'. On the site 'I am' Nikon express it this way: "No matter what I use my camera for I always say something about myself with my photos...whether I’m capturing holiday memories or snapping party shots, whether I’m just having a laugh or earn a living as a photographer. With my Nikon I can combine my personality and my dreams. With my Nikon I can show the world who I am".

Why is this campaign so strong? Well, at the heart of it lies great quality products. But to make those products truly desirable and worth paying an extra margin is the key to success. And in this case Nikon has identified how to truly connect to consumers through insight and human emotions. Watch the ad and see how they use copy, imagery and music to create a very strong, emotional connection with the viewer. It is powerful, isn't it? I love it anyway. And feel pretty keen to buy a Nikon now....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thank you Babybjörn - the honest, innovative, life-saver brand

Yesterday I had one of the toughest days for a while now. Both kids are ill with colds and fever, and my little boy is also teething... A recipe for total disaster zone. But whilst I have been feeling extremely deprived of sleep I have actually managed reasonably well. And the reason for that is mainly attributed to my long-term friend the Babybjörn baby carrier. What would I do without it? Whilst carrying around my little grizzly boy in my Babybjörn I started to think about the Babybjörn brand and an article I read just the other day about its founder Björn Jakobson. After having read the article I understood that one of the reasons that Babybjörn continues to produce such fantastic products is because the brand is staying true to Björn and his wife Lillemors founding principles and values. Babybjörn is truly a family owned brand where the founder hasn't been tempted to sell out to investors or the stock-market, but instead decided to grow organically, steadily year by year, by staying true to what they believe in most, the power of a caring, safe, and loving environment for small babies. And to support an environment that encourages strong attachment between baby and parent.

I took a look at the Babybjörn website and came across this fantastic clip with Björn and Lillemor. In this clip one can truly feel the power of the brand at its core. And the core I believe is not its fantastic products but rather the strong brand values acting as a foundation for anything the company does going forwards. Those values also ensure that the company continously search for new insights to innovate and new products or current products better for both baby and parents. I hope that the values of Björn and Lillemor will continue to remain at the heart of the Babybjörn brand for many years to come. What a great brand and what an inspiring brand story.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SC Johnson innovative launch with WC Duck Fresh Discs

My life has been upside down this year with the arrival of my baby boy. A very joyous arrival of course but also, with two little ones at home there are very few moments for myself by the computer. So it has unfortunately resulted in very few blog posts this year. Not because I haven't had anything on my mind to write about. But rather the opposite given how much time I spend in the supermarkets these days...

So, with a few seconds to spare I wanted to share with you my latest favourite of FMCG innovations. This time it may not appeal to all based on it being a solution for a rather dirty problem. It is the launch of WC Duck Fresh Discs by SC Johnson. I haven't tried this product myself yet but I am familiar with the problem that is being highlighted in what I view as an effective and well-executed TV commercial. This launch demonstrates that SC Johnson look for real insigts to develop new and innovative ways to provide consumer friendly solutions to common problems. I have been involved in similar research in the past and I can tell you from my own experience that it can quite an eye-opening experience to understand how other people clean their loos...

Hence I find this a great launch that I believe is based on consumer insight into the wonderful world of toilet cleaning... But I need to try the product before I'm convinced that it will be a lasting concept that will have an impact on the category. The TV-commercial can be seen here. The one on air in Sweden may be cut a bit different from this one.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

The power of signature branded products

This last Friday I spent a luxurious afternoon with a good friend browsing through clothing shops in central Stockholm. Of course I had the little one with me as well but luckily for me he seemed to enjoy the browsing too happily sleeping away in the pram.

One thing that struck me as I browsed through some of the clothing stores is how powerful a few signature, classic products can be for the brand as a whole.

A perfect example for this is swedish clothing brand Polarn & Pyret with their classic line of striped childrens clothes. It might be difficult to spot the small P&P label on their garments but you will always recognise their signature stripes. And those stripes stand for everything that P&P stands for. And this I would probably summarise as: durable, comfortable and classic, everyday clothing for happy and healthy kids.

Other retail brands with signature products would be GANT with their classic light blue or white cotton shirts or Peak Performance with their hooded sweatshirts in extremely durable quality. These mid-range priced clothing brands have understood that owning a certain style, pattern or cut will add to creating lasting brand impact. Something that more expensively priced, luxury clothing brands have adopted for years - and I am just thinking of Mulberry as the perfect example now.

The advantage of owning a certain pattern, cut or look must be great. They would be the same as for Heinz with their classic ketchup, or for Coca-Cola with their coke. It is a line of products that you can trust, a constant cash-cow which you can utilise to support new ventures.

So why are they not all doing it? Why can you not find any signature brand products at e.g. H&M, Kappahl or Sisters? Or the brittish brand Next or Oasis? Why don't they create something lasting that people return to buy year after year, and always feel proud wearing? Well, one reason might be that they feel that their commitment to fashion is too strong. And that signature products may ruin their fashion credentials.

Would they? Personally I think there is a middle way, and that the Polarn & Pyret, GANT and Peak examples show the power of signature products in the fashion industry. If signature branded products fit the brand, and offer something special and a sense of pride for the owner, they create strong brand impact through the thousands of people wearing them with pride, year after year.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Electrolux - commitment to 'Thinking of You'

Yesterday I spotted a great ad by Electrolux in the newspaper - it was highlighting one of their vacuum cleaners. But instead of focusing on the vacuum cleaner message I spotted the Electrolux brand tagline 'Thinking of you'.

I had not seen that tagline before. Is it maybe new? But when I saw it I was so pleased to see that Electrolux has such a strong commitment to consumers. Based on news in the marketplace, hirings and their recent, successful launches I have already understood that something is happening at Electrolux. During the last few years they have moved from a technically driven appliances manufacturer to a consumer insight centric solution provider. Electrolux is deeply committed to consumer centric and insight driven innovation, and it was fantastic to see that this commitment has also translated to their brand communication. I think the total change to a consumer centric company will continue but whilst their at it and beyond I believe we will see great things from Electrolux. I'm not only looking to buy a sexy Ergorapido vacuum cleaner asap (how did they manage to make a vacuum cleaner sexy and desirable?) but will also look into buying some shares...  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tesco unveils upgraded value range

Gosh - it certainly isn't easy to find some space to write anything these days. I am on maternity leave - now with two little kids in the house. It is magical but it has also been quite a change to handle the switch from one to two. And the change has certainly resulted in very few moments for myself so far.
But I do want to share an interesting newsflash that I read today. This time about Tesco, one of the worlds largest and most innovative retailers. Tesco is the king of private label branding and now they've upgraded and rebranded their low cost, low frills Tesco Value range. The Value range has been part of the Tesco offer for a very long time. This portfolio of blue and white striped products was launched more than twenty years ago and includes products across all categories and grocery aisles.

Now the Value range that we have seen so far is history. During these years of recession and European economic turmoil Tesco has decided to update and upgrade the Value portfolio. Its revamped look and feel is developed to add higher quality associations. And the new brand name of ' Everyday Value' should demonstrate that this is more than a design upgrade. Tesco has reviewed the entire portfolio and upgraded the range of products with more modern, desirable food whilst getting rid of nasties such as MSG across the whole range.

It may seem a bit surprising that Tesco has decided to do this change now - at a time when one would assume that many Brits would be bargain hunters and rather interested in the 'old' Value range. But I think that Tesco is right on track with this change - and maybe it should have happened sooner. I assume that this move is based on a long-term decline in sales of the Value range and that the 'old' Value range wasn't seen to reflect positively on Tesco as a quality brand and grocery chain.

Behind this I also believe that this move represents a longer-term change in western society. Consumers have become more quality and health aware. And to only focus on 'cheap' and 'bargain' isn't enough anymore. Fewer are prepared to make the trade-off between cheap, empty calories and nutritious food.  When producers or grocery chains focus on this single-minded message of 'cheap' it comes with negative associations to 'bad quality and bad for me', resulting in declining sales of the cheapest products in store... 

So it is interesting to see that the largest Swedish grocery chain ICA just launched their 'Basic' range concept. A range that is... well, basic... It's red and white clinical exterior doesn't appeal to anyone with an interest in food or nutrition, but is solely focused on the cash stripped bargain hunters. I would not be surprised if ICA looked west when developing this range, inspired by the 'old' Tesco Value look and feel. So, given the Tesco move away from this focus it will certainly be interesting to see how well this line of products is being received in Sweden.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Philadelphia cream cheese with Cadbury chocolate - a launch with potential?

Today I heard about this interesting co-branding launch by Kraft Foods. It has been two years since Kraft Foods acquired Cadbury, and now Kraft Foods is joining two of its most famous brands together by marrying Britain’s most famous chocolate brand with Philadelpia cream cheese. And Kraft has high hopes for the new launch targeting £10m in sales in the first year alone.

In the UK this product will be launched in February 2012. And it will be merchandised next to the other chilled cheese spreads and the plain Philadelphia. It will be sold in a 160g tub and a 120g four-pack of mini tubs (both rsp: £1.62). The launch will be supported with a £3.2m marketing budget.

In Germany and Italy Kraft already offers chocolate variants of Philadelphia through the Milka chocolate brand. And in those markets they focus on the breakfast occasion. The interesting thing here is that in these markets consumers are already used to using chocolate spread - Nutella is very popular in both Germany and Italy. I now look forward to see how the Brits and the country of Marmite respond to the idea of sweet rather than savoury on their toasts..

And in the UK Kraft has understood that they cannot position the Philadelphia Cadbury spread against the same occasion as in those markets. Instead consumer research has identified Philadelphia with Cadbury as a snack, rather than as a breakfast spread. The question is if the 'snack' occasion will be big and interesting enough to pursue in the longer term... Time will tell...